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Gage Hotel
Marathon, Texas


Description: Gage Hotel
Other Names: none
Address: corner of Avenue C North and West Highway 90, Marathon, Brewster County, Texas
Type: hotel
Original Client: Alfred S. Gage
Historic Inventory: Texas Historical Commission marker
Date: opened April 1, 1927
Condition: restored and re-opened 1982

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: Ponsford Brothers Construction Company
Dimensions and Orientation: faces South; L-shaped building, two stories with single story wing to West and gabled entry porch; 78 feet across facade by 99 feet deep; rear elevation, 35 feet across

Foundation: concrete
Wall Materials: textured buff brick
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used: hardwood floors, oak interior woodwork; double hung sash windows; beamed ceiling in lobby; tile faced entry stairs
Remodeling and Additions: door to North of fireplace enclosed; additional room behind the property

Present Owner: Mary Jon Bryan and J. P. Bryan, Jr., Houston
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (E-4) 8 ink on linen plans, pages 1 through 8, including side, front and rear elevations, dated September, 1926.
Location of Documentary Photographs: Texas Historical Commission, Austin

Bibliography: (1) Many Attend Opening of New Gage Hotel, Alpine Avalanche, April 1, 1927, page 1;
(2) Judy Giannettino, Marathon hotel opens door to bygone times, Houston Chronicle, Wednesday May 2, 1984, Section 9, page 4, history and description of hotel
(3) Claire Eyrich, Marathon’s Gage: A hotel built to last, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Sunday, July 14, 1985, page 7E, history and description of the hotel
(4) Texas Highways, March, 1985.
(5) El Paso Times, June 9, 1991, page 6B, Small town Texas hotels recall grandeur of ’20s

Remarks: Commission 2680. A separate guest house is not by Trost & Trost.

The town of Marathon came into being with the coming of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad in 1882 and soon became a center for ranch and mining operations, and market for sheep and cattle. Gage built the hotel because of the lack of sleeping accommodations available in town. One room was reserved for Gage which also double as his office. Gage died one year after the hotel was opened. Upon his death the hotel and 500,000 acres were given to his daughters.

In 1882, the town of Marathon came into being with the arrival of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. The town soon became the center for ranching and mining.

In 1882, Edward Gage and E.M. Powell formed a partnership to purchase 2,000 cattle and the Running W Bar brand from George J. Reiger. Gage moved to the Big Bend area to supervise the ranch. Then a year later the partnership was dissolved. Gage stayed in the cattle business and formed a new partnership with a group of New England investors. The new organization was called Presidio Live Stock Company. Alfred Gage the young half brother was the manager.

The mid-1880s was a rough period for the ranch. Two years of severe drought followed by the harsh winter of 1885. Edward tried various plans to keep the ranch going. Even opening a mercantile store in Alpine, with half brother Seth Gage. In 1892, distraught over the business, Edward killed himself in the washroom of a Chicago railroad station.

By 1897, the family had merged all holdings into the Alpine Cattle Company, under A.S. Gage’s management. The ranch enjoyed great success over the years. Today the ranch is called the A.S. Gage Partnership, Ltd and is still controlled by the family members.

In 1928, a number of Marathon towns people got together to see what could be done about building a hotel. Since Mr. Gage had the greatest property holdings, half the cost of this hotel was to be financed by him.
Mr. Gage hired the firm of Trost & Trost to draw plans for the hotel. The plans called for two stories with a single story on the west. Textured buff brick were used on the exterior of the structure. Oak floors and beamed ceiling were incorporated into the lobby. The Ponsford Brothers of El Paso were the contractors.
The hotel opened on April 1, 1928. Mr. Gage used one of the rooms in the hotel for his office. Mr. Gage died in July of 1928.

Mr. Gage believed that he would never recover the money he invested in the hotel, but according to the managers of the hotel it paid off from the start. The hotel was eventually closed and began to deteriorate. In 1982, J.P. Bryan purchased and restored this historic building. Today the hotel is open for business and is located at 102 NW 1st Hwy 90W

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1991.